Grand Fathers: Reminiscences, Poems, Recipes, and Photos of the Keepers of Our Traditions

Overview

Grandfathers are family treasures. Here, in more than forty reminiscences, poems, photos, and recipes, we all get to sit on the porch and listen to their wise voices. Nikki Giovanni has brought together writers of many ages, races, and backgrounds. They tell us of their grandfathers: slaves and Confederate soldiers, homesteaders and railroad men, Sons of the Revolution and new immigrants.

Grand Fathers is a warm and welcoming collection that honors all of our families, in love ...

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Overview

Grandfathers are family treasures. Here, in more than forty reminiscences, poems, photos, and recipes, we all get to sit on the porch and listen to their wise voices. Nikki Giovanni has brought together writers of many ages, races, and backgrounds. They tell us of their grandfathers: slaves and Confederate soldiers, homesteaders and railroad men, Sons of the Revolution and new immigrants.

Grand Fathers is a warm and welcoming collection that honors all of our families, in love and in pain, so that we all feel what loving relationships can be.

A collection of varied tributes to grandfathers, reflecting their special roles in families.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"Know your history!" These words, uttered by the man whom artist Ashley Bryan adopted as a grandfather, are taken to heart by all of the contributors to this collection, a companion volume to Giovanni's Grand Mothers. While some of the 47 writers of these poems and reminiscences (and even a song) celebrate the relationship between grandfather and grandchild, the majority focus on documenting the lives of the men who came before them, setting down details of births, marriages, children and careers as a testament to their courage, strong wills and, occasionally, to their failures. Eugenia Collier crafts a toast to her step-grandfather, born "in the first generation after slavery"; Walter J. Leonard relates the pithy words of wisdom he learned from his grandfather's experience as teacher and minister. In a finely honed piece, Lydie Raschka writes of her Norwegian grandfather ("Talking was not his strong point"), who raised his two children alone after his wife's suicide. Marina Budhos attests, in spare language, to the power of her Russian Jewish grandfather even after he disowns his daughter. Few of the pieces tell a sustained story; rather, like mosaics, they capture their subjects by juxtaposing small snippets of a life one against another. This technique, as well as the mature insights and sensibilities of the essayists, may attract more adults than teens. Though a fitting homage, this volume, with its smattering of handsome black-and-white photographs, is most effective as a moving collection of American social history. Ages 11-up. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
Grandfathers get short shrift in the literature of families. Matriarchs are usually represented as the family's strength and center. This sometimes literary, sometimes poetic, occasionally even culinary collection steps up to fill the void. Of course, poet Nikki Giovanni's name adds luster to the collection, but she is merely the compiler of essays and poems describing the contributors' memories of their grandfathers. The collection disproportionately represents African-American grandfathers (although a few other ethnicities appear) and, as such, successfully dispels the stereotype of the absent or neglectful black male. All of these men, many who survived slavery and other racial or economic hardship, are present in their families as the sources of wisdom and family history. We should be grateful that their descendants have chosen to share their sometimes painful stories with us. As Sterling Plumpp says, in her essay entitled "Poppa": "Grandfathers are the part of your being you fear, you want wrapped behind a dusty photograph somewhere...But grandfathers endure, challenge, overcome, succumb to tragedy, yet remain constant-call us to act, stand up take charge. They are ancestral almanacs detailing possibility for us." The message is universal, and so is the book, an excellent resource for class discussion on family heritage.
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-A companion volume to Giovanni's Grand Mothers (Holt, 1995). More than 40 individuals from all walks of life have contributed pieces to this anthology, and the literary quality and interest level vary considerably. Some of the pieces are by well-known writers and poets-Liz Rosenberg, Rita Dove, and Ashley Bryan-while others are by first-time authors. Some of the vignettes and biographical sketches reveal more about the writers than about their subjects; few are memorable. There are some links with history, notably in a section on great grandfathers of Civil War vintage, but many of the portraits never rise above the conventional and predictable. The overall effect is of repetition, forgivable in an oral-history project, but less tolerable in a children's book perhaps. While these grandfathers were important figures to the writers, few of them have been able to convey a compelling sense of the individuality or larger significance of the men in question.-Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805054842
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 6/28/1999
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 160
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Nikki Giovanni

Nikki Giovanni published her first book in 1968. In 1998 she received the NAACP's Image Award for her book Love Poems. A professor of English at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, she lives in Christiansburg, Virginia.

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